Healthy lifestyle changes, including a balanced diet, regular physical activity and weight management, can have a substantial impact on blood pressure control.
Diabetes and high blood pressure — also known as hypertension — are interconnected. “High blood pressure can worsen diabetes by damaging blood vessels, reducing blood flow to vital organs, and impairing insulin sensitivity. In turn, diabetes can exacerbate hypertension by increasing the risk of atherosclerosis (narrowing of arteries), kidney damage, and sodium retention,” said Dr Khushali Lalcheta, (MD, internal medicine), consultant physician, HCG Hospital, Rajkot, adding that it has been claimed that approximately 71 per cent of adults with diabetes also have high blood pressure.
The diabetes-hypertension connection
Insulin resistance:Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of diabetes, is often associated with insulin resistance. Insulin resistance can lead to an increase in blood pressure as the body compensates by producing more insulin, affecting blood vessel constriction.
Inflammation: Both diabetes and hypertension are linked to chronic inflammation, which can contribute to blood vessel damage and narrowing.
Obesity: Excess weight is a common risk factor for both diabetes and hypertension. Obesity can lead to insulin resistance and increase the strain on the cardiovascular system.
The organs affected
The doctor warned that uncontrolled hypertension in diabetics can lead to a cascade of health problems, including:
Cardiovascular disease: Hypertension significantly increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, which are already elevated in individuals with diabetes.
Kidney disease: Both high blood pressure and diabetes can damage the kidneys. The combination of these conditions intensifies the risk of diabetic nephropathy, a severe form of kidney disease.
Eye complications: Uncontrolled hypertension can worsen diabetic retinopathy, potentially leading to vision problems or even blindness.
Nerve damage: Neuropathy, a common complication of diabetes, can be exacerbated by hypertension, leading to more severe symptoms.
“Effectively managing blood pressure is an essential component of diabetes care,” said the doctor and proceeded to share some tips:
Lifestyle modifications: Healthy lifestyle changes, including a balanced diet, regular physical activity and weight management, can have a substantial impact on blood pressure control.
Regular monitoring: Regular blood pressure checks are essential for individuals with diabetes. Tracking blood pressure at home and reporting the results to a healthcare provider can help identify and address any issues promptly.
Blood sugar control: Managing blood sugar levels effectively can help reduce the impact of diabetes on hypertension. Medication, diet and exercise are crucial.
Stress management: Reducing stress through relaxation techniques, meditation, or therapy can help lower blood pressure.